Go crazy, open a can

February is National Canned Food Month. How will you celebrate? Actually, there’s only one way and it involves a can opener. Whatever you open, here’s why canned foods make sense, from the Canned Foods Alliance: Foods are picked and packed at the peak of freshness, which preserves nutrients. Canned food has a shelf life of at least two years from the date of processing, although after two years there may be a change of color and texture. Canned food as old as 100 years has been found in sunken ships and it is still microbiologically safe. Rust or dents do not affect the contents of the can as long as the can does not leak. If the can is leaking, however, or if the ends are bulged, the food should not be used.

Another source for recipes

Taste, the online magazine (not to be confused with Taste, the Star Tribune print and online newspaper food section) at tastecooking.com has launched this month, with original editorial content focusing on the world of home cooking. A news release says it will “explore the influences, ideas, and inspiration that enrich the experience of cooking at home through feature articles, approachable recipes, and stories.” Editor Matt Rodbard, co-author of “Koreatown: A Cookbook” will oversee a staff of contributing editors that includes J. Ryan Stradal, a native of Hastings and author of the bestselling “Kitchens of the Great Midwest.”


Vegan chili cook-off returns

Compassionate Action for Animals is hosting its annual Vegan Chili Cook-Off at 7 p.m. Feb. 18 at St. Catherine University, 2004 Randolph Av., St. Paul. The cook-off will be in the student center (Coeur de Catherine) on the third floor, in the Rauenhorst Ballroom. The free event offers tastings and a chance to rate a variety of hearty vegan chili recipes prepared by local contestants. Coffee, cornbread and coupons for veg-friendly products also will be provided. Organizers recommend that attendees arrive early for best food selection. Visit exploreveg.org/chili for more